Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What was motive behind Chip Kelly's disguise at the NFL Combine? (If it really was Chip Kelly)


Indianapolis--Was that Chip Kelly? A man who claimed to be a scout for the NHL's Winnipeg Jets, holding several worn stopwatches, was spotted evaluating the nearly 300 talented athletes at the NFL Combine daily from February 17-23 at Lucas Oil Stadium. The individual, who introduced himself as "Gary Reynolds from the Jets," knew quite a lot about the Philadelphia Eagles and the team's needs in the upcoming April/May NFL draft. The bizarre get-up--if it really was Chip Kelly--fooled most coaches, players, and front office personnel present at the high profile tryout. "I like this Mariota guy," said Reynolds/Kelly. "He'd fit in nicely with the Birds uptempo system, er, I mean, as a right winger up in Manitoba."

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Residents calling for better lighting in new pedestrian tunnel at southwest corner of Washington Square


Above: A new pedestrian access way at the southwest corner of Washington Square Park in Philadelphia. The "tunnel," which required the demolition of the first floor of an historic South Washington Square building and millions of dollars to then make the upper floors structurally sound, opened just over two weeks ago after a nearly decade long court battle. Nearby residents are now calling for improved lighting of the passageway that links the park and Manning Street to the south.


Monday, February 9, 2015

Warm temps, rain weaken ice: Septa security camera captures skater falling through rink ice into transit concourse

Above: Mild temperatures combined with periods of light rain wreaked havoc on the ice at the popular skating rink in Dilworth Park adjacent to City Hall. One unsuspecting skater fell through the thin ice at the western edge of the rink around 2 pm, legs dangling into the busy transit concourse below. There were no injuries and, shortly after being pulled from the new concourse skylight, all winter recreationalists resumed skating. One witness claimed that the incident was not due to warm temps, but rather the "tremendous force of the landing after the well above average height" of the triple lutz the man had just attempted.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Super Bowl XLIX: 'We talked about all the snow in Boston...the Grand Canyon...how Mad Men is ending soon...I don't know, stupid stuff'

Above: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell presents the Super Bowl XLIX MVP trophy to Tom Brady of the New England Patriots. The two assured fans and media that the encounter was not at all awkward after the two weeks of deflategate madness that preceded the big game in Glendale, AZ.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Saturday, January 24, 2015

NHL noticing media attention given to Deflategate, 'will likely' move to inflatable pucks

New York--Could the NHL move to inflatable pucks? Reports out of the Big Apple seem to think that the league is "blown away" by the media circus that deflategate has spurred around the NFL and "wants a piece of the action." An NHL puck is one inch thick, three inches across and about six ounces in weight. A move to an inflatable puck would dramatically reduce the weight and nearly double the dimensions, but the league wants higher television ratings and more media spotlight. Controversy over the proper inflation of a puck could provide exactly that. "Maybe we could have our own deflategate," said one NHL official. "We could use the same 12.5 to 14.5 psi thing that the NFL has. Maybe [Sidney] Crosby likes them at 11.5 psi and reporters from all over the world question him about how he may have let some air out. I'm just blown away by the media hype from [deflategate]. Just blown away."

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Deflategate: NFL discovers air in trunk of Belichick's car

The coach's trunk appeared "empty" to the untrained eye, said one NFL official participating in the investigation of the Patriots. "But the trunk was filled with air. Air that could have come from deflated footballs. We're running many tests," said the official.
"The air from those footballs is somewhere," said one NFL coach who wanted to remain anonymous. "It didn't just disappear into thin air. It's in someone's trunk, backyard, or at the bottom of the Charles River."

Friday, January 16, 2015

49ers insist new hire unrelated to coach's last name sounding like Don Shula

Above: 49ers new head coach Jim Tomsula addresses the media during a postgame news conference. It has been widely speculated that having a last name that sounds like Don Shula, the Hall of Fame Miami Dolphins coach, may have influenced the front office to promote the longtime defensive line leader. "Don, er, Jim is a talented and very well respected coach," said one team official. "Jim Don-Shula is the right person for the job."

Monday, January 12, 2015

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Eagles to add even more seating at northeast corner of Linc

Above: A rendering of the the planned seating expansion at Lincoln Financial Field's northeast corner. This area of the stadium welcomed new seats this past season, but plans are moving forward to quadruple the section's capacity for the 2015 season. "The corner seats were such a hit this year," said Dan Gilton, in charge of implementing the Eagles aggressive stadium expansion plan: C'mon, Let's Expand. "We wanted to offer more...a lot more."

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Lurie questions restructuring after Kelly offers Oregon a package of picks, players for QB Mariota

A very concerned Eagles owner reluctantly confirmed that his new head of personnel hoped to acquire the Ducks star quarterback before the national title game on Jan. 12.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Year in Review: New Jersey spends billions to dredge, widen Hackensack River for Super Bowl party cruise ships

The state also raised many low bridges to allow the tall cruise ships to navigate upriver.
East Rutherford, NJ--Nearly a year has passed since New Jersey hosted the first outdoor (expected) cold weather Super Bowl, where the Seahawks thrashed the Broncos like it was 1987, 1988, or 1990. Officially, the big game festivities were a bi-state affair, a first for the NFL, as events were also held across the Hudson River in Manhattan (The Big Apple Garden Super Bowl).

The two states invested a hefty sum of cash to have the game, especially for security measures. New Jersey also spent billions more—possibly to outshine their NYC neighbors—to dredge and widen the Hackensack River and to remove and raise bridges as needed in order to accommodate large party cruise ships to dock “as close as possible” to MetLife Stadium.

Manhattan hosted its own cruise ship party along the Hudson at Pier 53. While this celebration featured the likes of Jay Z, Beyoncé, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Jennifer Lopez, and Brad Pitt, the Hackensack River ships welcomed Macaulay Culken, the Spin Doctors, Matthew Modine, Marla Gibbs, Greg Evigan, Scott Wolf, and many more.

The Garden State, according to Governor Christ Christie, was "more than happy" to be co-hosting the NFL's showcase competition with New York. But, at the same time, did not want to be "completely in the shadows of the twenty-three square mile island's skyscrapers" when it came to the big parties and the popular, interactive NFL Experience for the fans.

The task to bring three Carnival cruise liners up the Hackensack River, to within walking distance of MetLife, aimed to move the party epicenter from Manhattan to North Jersey. Not only did the waterway require dredging but several low-clearing bridges (rail and automobile) needed to be raised fifty feet or more and passages widened to allow the ships to navigate north to East Rutherford.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Year in Review: Braves to offer ticket discounts, giveaways for all fans arriving in single-occupant vehicles (SOV) after move to new suburban stadium in 2017

"We're offering huge incentives if you drive by yourself to the games. Are you and three friends coming to a game? Well, take four cars to the new stadium. Relax, we'll be in the 'burbs," explained one Braves front office employee.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Plan to better link Center City, University City calls for rerouting Schuylkill River

Above: A map showing a potential new route of the Schuylkill River around University City. The route has the river turn west before reaching the Fairmount Water Works, then heading south beyond 50th St. before eventually rejoining the original flow path south of The Woodlands. The controversial plan could begin excavation work as early as this afternoon. Schuylkill Banks, the popular riverside linear park, would remain and likely be renamed Downtown Recreational Area. The Bank's brand new, $17 million Schuylkill River Boardwalk would be relocated downriver at some point. The dry riverbed south of the dam would be filled in and topped with office, retail, and residential development to seamlessly join University City and Center City. "It'll be weird not having the river there," said one developer. "But there really are no other options." One local civil engineer, who wanted to remain anonymous, called the project "impossible."

Monday, December 15, 2014

Year in Review: New Comcast Center leaves hundreds scrambling for surface parking

Photo source: BuildingPhilly
By 2017, Philadelphia will have a new tallest building: the now-under-construction Comcast Innovation and Technology Center will jut 1,121 ft into the air high above the City that Loves You Back. ("That's 59 stories to you and me.") Forgotten in the excitement of a tower that requires redrawing the downtown skyline is the fact that hundreds of automobile-commuting Center City workers must now arrange for alternative places to store their cars after excavation commenced on the surface parking lot at 18th and Arch Streets.

The block, bounded by 18th, 19th, Cuthbert, and Arch Streets, has served as a parking lot since 1996. In early 1994, Sir-Parks-A-Lot, "the global surface parking authority," purchased the 28-story Reading and Baltimore and Ohio and Carlisle and Hanover Railroad Building, an office tower, which stood at the site since 1937. Sir-Parks-A-Lot promised to move their world headquarters into the architectural gem, but instead decided last minute to raze the structure and "welcome it to the company's numerous surface parking options."

The many who parked at the lot five days a week became close with each other and with lot employees. Mark Betricht, an attendant at the site until construction crews arrived, is the god father to six children of parking customers. "I'm going to really miss seeing this bunch of misfits," Betricht joked, adding a hearty laugh. "No, I'm kidding. We had a lot of fun and I met a lot of great people. I'm really going to miss Mrs. Jeselle bringing me homemade donuts three times a week."

"It's a sad but exciting day," said Patty Gilmore, 49, a Chester County resident and analyst with Lincoln Financial, after arriving at the lot one day only to see the entrance roped off and a towering yellow truck crane at the site's center. "I'm gonna miss that little--well, big--patch of asphalt parking paradise. It was my baby. I will miss her welcoming me in the early mornings and sending me off in the evenings."

The patrons and lot workers participated in a holiday gift exchange and held an annual sand volleyball tournament at the northwest corner of the site. "We had some great beach volleyball matches here," said Jeff Bonner, an analyzation officer with Cooper-Sinclair. "We created teams by the area where you parked your car. And, not only did I spike the ball, I spiked the punch."

When the lot was snow-covered everybody pitched in to yell at the plow operator if he or she plowed-in any of the vehicles or created piles that reduced the number of spaces. Hundreds volunteered for the charity car wash every July, an event that raised money for the annual beach volleyball tournament.

Not everyone has been able to accept the parking lot's demise and move on without a fight. Strong opposition by some forced Comcast and development partner Liberty Property Trust to release alternate renderings with the surface parking lot completely intact. Colorful, futuristic designs showed a nearly 60-story skyscraper suspended from "millions" of steel cables from the top and "hovering" thirty feet above the ground.

"I've been parking here for seven years," said Jean Tomlinson, 48, a Delaware County resident and downtown employee at Cigna. "What am going to do? No, really, what am I supposed to do. Surface parking options are dwindling in the office district. It sucks. The Wawa was just down the street and they're disappearing, too, in Center City. Plus, what other lot has sand volleyball?"

"I'm a surface parking lot gal," said Betty Talfone. "I can't park in a garage. I'm claustrophobic like that. I won't park in a garage...I just won't."

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Vatican confirms Pope will visit Pat's AND Geno's

In March, a delegation of Philadelphians traveled to Vatican City to extend a personal invitation to Pope Francis to visit the city during the World Meeting of Families in September 2015. In addition to personalized jerseys from all four major sports franchises, the distinguished group presented His Holiness with a two-day-old cheesesteak brought over on the flight to Italy in a styrofoam organ donor cooler. (They did not disclose where the steak was purchased.) Francis accepted the gifts with a wide grin and the Brotherly Love representatives moved on after a brief interaction. "I didn't think he would eat the cheesesteak to be perfectly honest," said an incredulous Mayor Michael Nutter. "I was floored when I got the call last week. I thought it was a prank." The Call was directly from the Pope himself asking which cheesesteak establishment he should patronize during his visit next fall. Nutter politely guided Francis to sample several steak shops because it is "very difficult to choose just one." Last week, the Vatican confirmed that the Pope would visit Pat's and Geno's in South Philadelphia and possibly two more shops during the brief stay.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

7 feet of snow: Buffalo area school districts forced to grant first two-hour delay opening in 78 years

Above: A wall of snow moves inland from unfrozen Lake Erie in western New York state on November 18, 2014. Parts of Erie, Cattaraugus, and Chautauqua Counties, south of Buffalo, received nearly seven feet of snow from the intense, slow-moving band of precipitation. The region, which annually receives huge amounts of lake effect snow, was forced to open schools two hours late during the most intense part of the storm. "I think seven feet of snow is enough to have a two-hour delayed opening," said Eileen McAntyre, Superintendent of Hamburg (NY) Area School District. "[Residents of western New York] are used to snow and I really hope I don't come across as a wimp for opening two hours late. It's been 78 years since the last delayed school opening in this area."